Bid to cut ancient building's power bill

URGENT conservation work on one of the finest timber-framed buildings in Britain has begun in a bid to cut a �5,700 annual energy bill.

Dave Gooderham

URGENT conservation work on one of the finest timber-framed buildings in Britain has begun in a bid to cut a �5,700 annual energy bill.

A project to improve the roof insulation of Lavenham's renowned Guildhall has got under way to address the huge electricity and gas bills.

The �100,000 work on the famous building will see specialist contractors use sheep wool to insulate the roof space - a nod to the village's past when the town's great wealth during the 16th Century saw the production of woollen cloth thrive.


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The behind-the-scenes conservation work, described as “essential”, will improve the heating efficiency of the building. The National Trust property was hit by annual bills of �1,200 and �4,500 for gas and electricity respectively.

Nigel Houghton, building surveyor, said: “In conjunction with making the heating more efficient, we are wherever possible upgrading the insulation.

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“The standards here are very poor, but there are opportunities to put in sheep's wool insulation in the roof and voids. This is quite apt considering the town's connection with the woollen cloth trade.”

Project chiefs admitted the building had heating problems in the past but said the work, carried out by village-based W.A Deacon & Sons Ltd, will keep the temperature acceptable for visitors while reducing energy bills.

Describing the maintenance work, Mr Houghton said: “The work to replace the gas-fired boiler has been scheduled for some time, but we are also taking the opportunity to improve the efficiencies of heating the building within the limitations of the historic fabric.

“The solution we have adopted is a new efficient gas boiler system that will serve the entire building.

“By removing the electric heating and using a more energy efficient option, we are minimising our electrical use.

“We will also be incorporating more zoning, timing and thermostatic controls to provide better management of the energy use.”

The �100,000 project cost is being funded as part of the National Trust's annual improvement programme.

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